Friday, April 17, 2009

NRI Bihari Engineer's Swades Prem

It could well be the script of Shah Rukh Khan's Swades. A local lad chucks a high-paying job in the states to bring light to his remote, off-the grid village in Bihar's West Champaran district.

Villagers found light when local lad Gyanesh Pandey came home from Los Angeles, chucking a promising career in engineering to spark this revolution with his friend Ratnesh. His undergraduate mates, Manoj Sinha and Charles 'Chip' Ransler, from the University of Virginia, raised funds and soon the village was empowered.

His two other expat Bihari friends and an American mate, helping him script this bright turnaround story.

After living in the dark ages for decades, a forgotten village in Bihar's west Champaran district, has found the power to light up its future. It comes from this plant that runs on rice husk, a forgotten technology.

"I can see why we lack innovation and everything, like to me. It all comes down to dignity and self-respect, unless you have that, you can't let your imagination fly. It is the very core of your living and that's something we lack here the most," said Gyanesh Pandey.

"This is enabling my own people, distant relatives you can say, or my own extended family. This is most inspiring," he added.
"The word 'enabling' is the key here. This is to help people help themselves, "said charles Ransler, Gyanesh friend.
Two villages have been electrified so far. Others are clamouring to join Gyanesh's light brigade, which also promises to reverse migration from the area.
"A powerhouse like this will remove the trouble of kerosene, it will bring happiness, children will study at home. We'll be able to watch TV, " said Bala Gupta, villager.

From darkness to light, it has been a terribly long wait for the villagers in Dhanaha, a dream that they could not even imagine to dream has finally seen light here।

Thanks to Gyanesh and his friends, who preferred and succeeded in chasing a mirage instead of the American Dream, which was theirs for the asking.

Courtesy – Dr. T. L. S. Bhaskar, Diaspora Foundation


  1. The plan recently received several votes of confidence as college business plan competitions have awarded it almost $100,000 in prize money, including $50,000 for winning the Social Innovation Competition at the University of Texas on 2May, $35,000 for second place at MIT’s Ignite Clean Energy competition on 12May and a $10,000 top prize from the University of Virginia on 7April.

  2. Lets do investment for development of bihar